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ASLA Launches the Landscape Architect’s Guide to Boston

New website reveals Boston’s role as an urban innovator.

From the Emerald Necklace to the Freedom Trail Sites, Boston’s green spaces are revered by tourists and locals alike. The Landscape Architect’s Guide to Boston, launched today by the American Society of Landscape Architects, offers insider information about these designed landscapes and others you may not have heard of. It is located at www.asla.org/boston.


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Twelve million people visit Boston annually, but most of those visitors possess only a rudimentary knowledge of the city’s landscapes and restrict their travel to the well-established tourist routes. With a tap of their smartphones, people can deepen their knowledge through expert commentary and more than 1,100 photos provided by 28 landscape architects.

A special note: Use this tool to  preview Boston, the host city for this year’s Annual Meeting and EXPO November 15-18, and to guide you while on site for the event.

Thomas R. Tavella, FASLA, president of ASLA, says that the guide is the first-ever website that describes 100 historic, modern and contemporary landscapes in Boston, Cambridge, and Brookline—and explains why they captivate. It highlights historic monuments and parks and examples of new sustainable works, including Raymond V. Mellone Park, a cutting-edge park that also manages stormwater, and Condor Street Urban Wild, which caps toxic soils to create a new wildlife habitat and urban respite.

“This guide will answer questions you didn’t know you had about your favorite neighborhood parks and other landscapes,” says Tavella. “Boston’s vibrant public realm didn’t just magically appear but was carefully designed over the years, and is continually evolving, through interactions among elected leaders, communities and landscape architects.”

Boston has long been a trendsetter when it comes to urban design and sustainability. Its landscape architects have played a crucial role in making the city a better place to live, starting in the late 19th century, when Frederick Law Olmsted designed the Emerald Necklace, to today's generation of landscape architects who are creating waterfront parks and beloved green spaces. Boston ranks in the top 10 nationally for sustainability, park space and quality of life, in large part because its designed landscapes are integral to its urban fabric.

The guide is divided into 26 distinct tours in diverse neighborhoods in Boston, Cambridge and Brookline. Each tour covers multiple neighborhoods, and includes a printable walking or biking map for easy exploration.

The guide was created by ASLA in partnership with 28 nationally recognized landscape architects, all of whom are designers of the public realm and leaders in sustainable design. The guides were asked to explain the sites from a landscape architect’s point of view and show how the design of these sites influences how people interact with or even feel about these places.

Our sincere gratitude to all the guides. Visit all the neighborhoods here. The Boston guide is the second produced by ASLA. The Landscape Architect’s Guide to Washington, D.C., was launched last year and so far has received more than 100,000 pageviews.

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